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Training1st April 2021

Burn more calories with afterburn effect

You've probably heard the term "afterburn effect" before, right? And: do you actually know what is meant by it? This article explains the afterburn effect, what is so fascinating about it and also shows you how you can achieve an afterburn effect. So, read on!

What is the afterburn effect actually?

We all know that sports keep us healthy and fit and also help to get rid of a few extra pounds. But did you know that you can still burn calories after sports! It's actually true, with the so-called "after-burn effect" or rather the "excess post-exercise oxygen consumption", or EPOC for short.

The EPOC phenomenon is based on the fact that after exercise, metabolic activity is increased, resulting in a temporarily increased basal metabolic rate - that is, the energy burned at rest. So you can still burn calories after an effective workout, even at home on the sofa while you're already relaxing and watching Netflix.

How does the afterburn effect work?

However, the EPOC effect can only take effect if your workout was appropriately intense. It requires a certain "disturbance" of the homeostasis of the body so that it uses energy to restore this homeostasis after the training. This is due to the fact that the body must now slowly bring down the increased power and processes during the training. Depending on the load and intensity of the workout, an additional calorie consumption of 20-30% can be noted in the hours after the workout.

  • Immediately after exercise, EPOC is most effective: the body is now busy restoring used strength and energy by producing efficient energy suppliers such as adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate. Hemoglobin, the protein of red blood cells, and myoglobin, muscle proteins, are also produced at an increased rate to regenerate muscles. All processes in the body switch to regeneration - and that costs energy!
  • A few hours after exercise, the EPOC continues: This is because the body must now produce increased proteins through protein synthesis in order to repair the muscles. Here, too, energy is still needed. A clearly noticeable effect can last up to 14 hours after training.
  • 1-2 days after training, the EPOC may still be active: Because the increased muscle mass and tension increases basal metabolic rate, more energy may still be used in the days after training than without training, even though homeostasis is now restored and EPOC is far less potent.

How do you train effectively to achieve an afterburn effect?

As already mentioned, an afterburn effect takes place when there is increased oxygen activity. This only happens when the body has to compensate for a lack of oxygen that occurs during training afterwards. Therefore, your training should be so intense that you can no longer relax - meaning you are training in the anaerobic zone. The anaerobic training zone starts at about 80% of your maximum heart rate, which is calculated with an approximate rule of thumb:

  • Maximum heart rate = 220 - age

For example, a 28 year old has a maximum heart rate (220-28) of 192 beats per minute. 80% of this would be a heart rate of about 154 beats per minute. You can also approximately tell the intensity of the workout by your puff: if you can still talk in a relaxed manner, as would be the case with a moderate jog in the park, you are training below the anaerobic training threshold. You should therefore already be out of breath in order to be able to achieve an afterburn effect.

What is the best type of training to achieve EPOC?

As already mentioned, the training intensity should be 80% and plus of the maximum heart rate. You can achieve this well with the following training

  • HIIT training with your own body weight or as circuit training in the gym.
  • Interval runs outside or sprints during endurance training in the gym.
  • Intensive strength endurance training (e.g. with supersets

It is important that you actively design the "breaks" during this intensive training, so that the pulse and thus the heart rate stays up. So you should avoid sitting down and completely shutting down the movement between exercises, intervals or sprints. At the same time, a 30-45 minute workout is often more effective than an hour of casual jogging and thus also achieves a higher afterburn effect

How high the EPOC value is ultimately depends not only on the training intensity, but also on various factors such as the duration of the training, your general fitness level, age, gender and weight.

Regeneration is the keyword

The afterburn effect is ultimately nothing more than the complete regeneration of your body after an intense training session. Maybe you already knew that muscle growth does not take place during, but after training! This means nothing more than: Regeneration is just as important as effective training. So give your body a good rest and give it the time to use the afterburn effect and restore homeostasis.

Want to know more about how to train effectively? Sign up now for a trial training or send a request for a personal training to our club managers at evofitness.com.


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